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Great Soundtracks

Great Soundtracks

Try to think of Charade without that perfectly swoony Henry Mancini title song. Imagine Easy Rider roaring down the highway without Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” kicking it into high gear, or Dazed and Confused fading out to anything other than Foghat’s “Slow Ride”—or a zitherless The Third Man. Many movies are inextricable from their flawlessly selected soundtracks. Similarly, certain songs don’t seem to have reason to exist without the images they’ve been set to: Jeannette’s unfathomably giddy “Por que te vas” is forever tied to Ana Torrent’s bedroom dance in Cría cuervos . . . , and anyone who’s seen Chungking Express is unlikely to hear the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” without dreaming of Faye Wong bopping along. Below, explore a potpourri of Criterion pop and jazz, in films featuring music from David Bowie, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, John Lurie, Nico, the Rolling Stones, Annie Ross, Tom Waits, and more.